WJBF EXTRA: Community Policing

Photo of a Richmond County Sheriff's Office deputy handing out candy to a child on Halloween.
Photo of a Richmond County Sheriff's Office deputy handing out candy to a child on Halloween.

Augusta, GA (WJBF) – The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is taking a bite out of crime by breaking down the walls between deputy and citizens.

Krystal McGee is the executive director at the Wilson Family Y and she sees it firsthand. “We see the same deputies and so it helps us to build a rapport.”

It is a relationship deputies are starting to build at an early age, taking part in Halloween events.

“They learn to build a relationship with them, too, and they know they’re in here to create some positive experiences,” said McGee.

And, that’s helping crime numbers.

McGee said theft at the Family Y has dropped by 70 percent.

It’s just the next step in a plan Sheriff Richard Roundtree has been working on since he got in office, three years ago. For him, community policing is key, with crime numbers dropping across the board.

“The crime statistics is just one part of it. The other part of it, again, is the community involvement and the community support. That’s what’s gonna make it work,” Sheriff Richard Roundtree said.

That includes community forums where neighbors bring out their concerns.

“We should be able to depend on, as you say, the Augusta Police Department,” said a resident at a community forum.

But, it’s what Sheriff Roundtree wants. Earlier this year, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office set up shop at the Augusta Mall to get people to fill out satisfaction surveys. And, there are cookouts, like the Burgers and Shakes event that was held this year.

So far in 2015, the Community Services Division of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office spent nearly $10,000 on events, which help bridge the gap between the Sheriff’s Office and the people they protect and serve.

“This is a new administration and we want to interact with the citizens,” Sheriff Roundtree added.

It is an administration that’s taking on a new approach and getting results.

“They are part of our community, and our family and our members just see them as part of us,” McGee added.

To learn more about the programs and services the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office offers, click here.

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